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Impact of MLC properties and IMRT technique in meningioma and head-and-neck treatments

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      The impact of multileaf collimator (MLC) design and IMRT technique on plan quality and delivery improvements for head-and-neck and meningioma patients is compared in a planning study.

      Material and methods

      Ten previously treated patients (5 head-and-neck, 5 meningioma) were re-planned for step-and-shoot IMRT (ssIMRT), sliding window IMRT (dMLC) and VMAT using the MLCi2 without (−) and with (+) interdigitation and the Agility-MLC attached to an Elekta 6MV linac. This results in nine plans per patient. Consistent patient individual optimization parameters are used. Plans are generated using the research tool Hyperion V2.4 (equivalent to Elekta Monaco 3.2) with hard constraints for critical structures and objectives for target structures. For VMAT plans, the improved segment shape optimization is used.

      Critical structures are evaluated based on QUANTEC criteria. PTV coverage is compared by EUD, D mean, homogeneity and conformity. Additionally, MU/plan, treatment times and number of segments are evaluated.


      As constrained optimization is used, all plans fulfill the hard constraints. Doses to critical structures do not differ more than 1Gy between the nine generated plans for each patient. Only larynx, parotids and eyes differ up to 1.5Gy (D mean or D max) or 7 % (volume-constraint) due to (1) increased scatter, (2) not avoiding structures when using the full range of gantry rotation and (3) improved leaf sequencing with advanced segment shape optimization for VMAT plans. EUD, D mean, homogeneity and conformity are improved using the Agility-MLC. However, PTV coverage is more affected by technique. MU increase with the use of dMLC and VMAT, while the MU are reduced by using the Agility-MLC. Fastest treatments are always achieved using Agility-MLC, especially in combination with VMAT.


      Fastest treatments with the best PTV coverage are found for VMAT plans with Agility-MLC, achieving the same sparing of healthy tissue compared to the other combinations of ssIMRT, dMLC and VMAT with either MLCi2 −/+ or Agility.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 45

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      A simple scoring ratio to index the conformity of radiosurgical treatment plans. Technical note.

       I Paddick (2000)
      A conformity index is a measure of how well the volume of a radiosurgical dose distribution conforms to the size and shape of a target volume. Because the success of radiosurgery is related to the extremely conformal irradiation of the target, an accurate method for describing this parameter is important. Existing conformity ratios and indices used in radiosurgery are reviewed and criticized. It will be demonstrated that previously proposed measurements of conformity can, under certain conditions, give false perfect scores. A new conformity index is derived that gives an objective score of conformity for a treatment plan and gives no false scores. An analysis of five different treatment plans is made using both the existing scoring methods and the new conformity index.
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        Volumetric intensity-modulated arc therapy vs. conventional IMRT in head-and-neck cancer: a comparative planning and dosimetric study.

        Volumetric intensity-modulated arc therapy (RA) allows for rapid delivery of highly conformal dose distributions. In this study, planning and dosimetry of RA were compared with conventional intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans of head-and-neck cancer patients. Computed tomography scans of 12 patients who had completed IMRT for advanced tumors of the naso-, oro- and hypopharynx were replanned using RA using either one or two arcs. Calculated doses to planning target volume (PTV) and organs at risk (OAR) were compared between IMRT and RA plans. Dose distributions for single arc (n = 8) and double arc (n = 4) plans were verified using film dosimetry in three to five coronal planes using a quality assurance phantom. RA plans allowed for a mean reduction in number of monitor units (MU) by nearly 60%, relative to seven field sliding window IMRT plans. RA plans achieved similar sparing of all OAR as IMRT. Double arc RA provided the best dose homogeneity to PTV with a lower standard deviation of PTV dose (1.4 Gy), vs. single arc plans (2.0 Gy) and IMRT (1.7 Gy). Film measurements showed good correspondence with calculated doses; the mean gamma value was 0.30 (double arc) and area of the film with a gamma exceeding 1 was 0.82%. RA is a fast, safe, and accurate technique that uses lower MUs than conventional IMRT. Double arc plans provided at least similar sparing of OAR and better PTV dose homogeneity than single arc or IMRT.
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          Volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy for carcinomas of the oro-pharynx, hypo-pharynx and larynx: a treatment planning comparison with fixed field IMRT.

          A planning study was performed to evaluate the performance of volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy on head and neck cancer patients. Conventional fixed field IMRT was used as a benchmark. CT datasets of 29 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oro-pharynx, hypo-pharynx and larynx were included. Plans for fixed beam IMRT, single (RA1) and double (RA2) modulated arcs with the RapidArc technique were optimised. Dose prescription was set to 66 Gy to the primary tumour (at 2.2 Gy/fraction), 60 Gy to intermediate-risk nodes and 54 Gy to low-risk nodal levels. The planning objectives for PTV were minimum dose >95%, and maximum dose <107%. Maximum dose to spinal cord was limited to 46 Gy, maximum to brain stem to 50 Gy. For parotids, mean dose <26 Gy (or median <30 Gy) was assumed as the objective. The MU and delivery time were scored to measure expected treatment efficiency. Target coverage and homogeneity results improved with RA2 plans compared to both RA1 and IMRT. All the techniques fulfilled the objectives on maximum dose, while small deviations were observed on minimum dose for PTV. The conformity index (CI(95%)) was 1.7+/-0.2 for all the three techniques. RA2 allowed a reduction of D(2%) to spinal cord of approximately 3 Gy compared to IMRT (RA1 D(2%) increased it of approximately 1 Gy). On brain stem, D(2%) was reduced from 12 Gy (RA1 vs. IMRT) to 13.5 Gy (RA2 vs. IMRT). The mean dose to ipsi-lateral parotids was reduced from 40 Gy (IMRT) to 36.2 Gy (RA1) and 34.4 Gy (RA2). The mean dose to the contra-lateral gland ranged from 32.6 Gy (IMRT) to 30.9 Gy (RA1) and 28.2 Gy (RA2). RapidArc was investigated for head and neck cancer. RA1 and RA2 showed some improvements in organs at risk and healthy tissue sparing, while only RA2 offered improved target coverage with respect to conventional IMRT.

            Author and article information

            [ ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
            [ ]Department of Radiation Oncology, William Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, MI USA
            [ ]Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Oncology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
            Radiat Oncol
            Radiat Oncol
            Radiation Oncology (London, England)
            BioMed Central (London )
            2 September 2015
            2 September 2015
            : 10
            © Kantz et al. 2015

            Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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            © The Author(s) 2015

            Oncology & Radiotherapy

            mlc properties, imrt, vmat


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